There are many opportunities in coaching conversations that help our clients Catch and Question and unplug from their obstacles. We can help them understand that ‘Now’ is neutral and they can reflect on where they were and where they want to go. ‘Now’ is the present moment – the space we hold ourselves in. Where they have been has already happened and is in the past. It no longer exists. The future does not exist either because they have not taken any actions yet-it is the future. In this moment of now, they have the power to choose their new thoughts based on what did not serve them in the past and live their new scripts forward.
Leveraging the ‘Catch and Question’ power tool within the ICF competency framework, we can listen and look for clues to client beliefs that if reframed, encourage client insights and empower change.
The power of our beliefs that keep us stuck is enormous. Those deeply ingrained notions act as chains restricting us from experiencing our unique destiny.
(‘Excuses Be Gone’; Dr. Wayne W. Dyer)
Coaching Clues in Client Words and Phrases:
I just knew he was going to do that because he is always trying to act better than everyone else” or “I am sure it happened that way because she always talks behind my back.
I am sure I won’t ever meet anyone or have a relationship because I am getting older or I will never be thin because I have never been able to lose weight before or the even more common Well, that can’t possibly happen.
I have always done it this way or This is the way XX needs to be done or This never changes no matter what I do.
Coaching Practices That Support Catch-ing and Question-ing:
Setting the Foundation
Begin sessions with transparency around the coaching agreement to set a tone for authentic coaching conversations and a professional coaching-client relationship.
Co-Creating The Relationship
Establish trust through using positive coaching and body language, voice tone and coaching presence so the client relaxes and allows their own vulnerability.
Listen for the clues in words and phrases that show judgment, fear or habits. Ask powerful questions to uncover the beliefs.
Utilize the ‘Catch and Question’ power tool with questions:
- How do you know that is true?
- What makes you feel they were thinking that?
- How does that empower you?
- How does that support your ideal outcome?
Acknowledge their progress for sitting in emotions and identifying their roots. Acknowledge their strength for facing old beliefs and questioning them. Acknowledge their thoughtfulness in designing new ways of thinking. Acknowledge acceptance of owning their worthiness and feeling they deserve more.
Facilitating Learning and Results
Listen for the main threads and repeating words that point to underlying beliefs affecting the issues. Help the client gain self-awareness around their contributing reactions, judgments, fears and habits. Support their deep dives into new conclusions and beliefs that can create empowering action steps. Keep watch for old patterns or beliefs trying to make their way back in and use powerful questions and mirroring techniques to reflect back so clients gain further insights.
Quick Response vs ‘Catch and Question’©
When Kim contacted a coach the next day to gain support for seeking a new job, they discussed the emotions and beliefs that had led Kim to her conclusion to leave her current role. After ‘catching and questioning’ her emotions and thoughts, Kim decided she wanted to better understand what had happened. Working with her coach, she designed action steps and followed through on them before they met again the following week. Kim discovered that because she stayed up much later than usual to watch a favorite movie on television, she wanted to sleep in longer than usual. She loved this movie so much that she had bought the DVD a while back and owned it. She could have watched it anytime. By choosing to stay up later at night, she wanted to sleep later in the morning.
She owned accountability for taking the risk that traffic could have been a problem; especially since Monday traffic was usually heavier. She also learned from a mutual friend of her ex-husband’s, that her friend was picking up his mail because he was far away on an extended business trip. When she checked in with her boss in an open and conversational way, she learned that her boss had a very bad migraine headache over the weekend but wanted to make an effort to come into work to show support for her presentation of a new project plan. Kim also learned that her boss had put her name in for a promotion. When she had lunch with one of her colleagues she learned they had been worried that they must not have met Kim’s expectations on their project items because she had marched into the meeting without even saying hello or making eye contact.
When we catch our own or our clients’ self-talk and question disempowering emotional roots and thoughts, we can validate or reframe our understanding. By rewriting our script in new empowering ways, we become inspired to live more fully in our lives, creating new paths toward new possibilities.
- What disempowering themes reoccur in our work, personal lives or relationships?
- When we feel an emotion, do we bring it to our self-awareness and question it? Suppress it? Skip it?
- When we have an opinion on what someone else did or didn’t do, are we judging? Blaming? Excusing?
- What are we contributing to what we don’t want?
- When we are open, suspending judgment and holding our own accountability, what makes the same situation look different?
- When we choose our thoughts with intention, how do they look? How does it feel?
- When we create a new plan and take action steps supported by our new thoughts and beliefs, how does that feel?
Write in a journal:
Every day, write one emotion that felt uncomfortable or caused a disempowering response. Reflect on what caused it and write your insights:
- What thoughts accompanied your emotion or response? List them.
- Review your list of thoughts- are they judgment, blame, excuses or habits?
- What could new thoughts or questions be to cause deeper understanding? List them.
- What action steps can you take to learn more? Do them.
- Revisit your entry periodically to write your newly reframed beliefs and thoughts.
- Revisit your entry periodically to evaluate if the unwanted emotion appeared again-or not.
- How do you feel now?